Complex Solution Provider
In a place like Butte, Montana, performing even the most basic railroad tasks can be a challenge. There are the days when a mountain lion or bear may cross your path, or a cold wind from the Rocky Mountains covers you in a foot of snow. For the Patriot Rail & Ports team at the Butte, Anaconda & Pacific Railway (BAP), these events and elements come with the territory. Still, it’s the team’s ability to deal with these situations while staying focused on the task at hand, which makes them so adept at solving complex problems for our clients.
Our Patriot Rail team serves two primary customers in southwest Montana are U.S. Minerals and Montana Resources. Both companies have unique transportation needs stemming from the materials they haul from their mining and manufacturing operations. U.S. Minerals produces roofing granules, abrasives, and fillers used in items such as roof tiles. Montana Resources mines and processes copper and molybdenum for use in smartphones and skyscrapers. These unique products require specific train cars and care to move safely.
Taking the Hazard out of Hazardous Materials
A common byproduct of the mining industry is hazardous materials, and it takes extreme care to transport them. Like most train interchanges, ours has many moving cars, so our BAP team has to stay focused to handle these materials correctly and safely. We can place empty cars anywhere, but those containing hazardous materials must be stored based on specific regulations and requirements. Each member of our BAP team is certified and experienced in handling the transportation of this precious cargo. It’s up to them to know what’s inside each car that we store. Inspections come often, and mistakes can create problems for both the railway and our Patriot Rail customers. Our BAP team takes extreme care to store and transport hazmat cars the right way to avoid fines and delays. It’s been over 1,200 days since their last incident.
If a customer needs us to provide space in our yard for us to repair and update cars, we can do that as well. “Big railroads typically are unable to let customers come in and take up any of their space,” says Nick Tharp, AVP of Transportation. “So we work with our clients to set aside space that’s blocked off, and that puts them in a safe condition.” We provide detailed briefings to coordinate the work our clients need to do, and when it’s complete, give our clients a switch to move the cars out for the next ones.
Keeping Our Clients Connected and Moving
With such a high demand for these goods, it’s imperative that we at Patriot Rail move cars along the BAP Railway and connect them to the Class I Railroads efficiently. Both U.S. Minerals and Montana Resources make daily requests to store and pull cars from storage, so our team at the BAP must think ahead and be strategic about their placement in the railyard. The logistics industry is all about timing, so it’s imperative that we can easily pick up and move a car to meet their deadlines when we receive a customer order.
Equally as important is the transportation of cars coming in through our two interchanges that connect with the BNSF and Union Pacific railroads. Montana Resources, for example, will often utilize the BAP interchanges to move incoming cars directly to their plant on the same day. The maneuverability that Patriot Rail offers our customers enables their company to have a constant rotation of trains. While one unit train is heading to port, they fill another at their factory. If Montana Resources needs more cars, the BAP team will work within our labor parameters and railroad regulations to make it happen. The goal is to keep inventory moving for our Patriot Rail customers.
It Comes with the Territory
Forged by the Montana wilderness, our team at the Butte, Anaconda & Pacific (BAP) Railway has the focus and know-how needed to handle everything from custom train building to difficult switching scenarios (and nearly anything in between). No matter the temperature or how many bears cross our path, the BAP team remains dedicated to providing complex solutions for Patriot Rail & Ports clients.